Blog: The Top 10 things I learnt from ‘All About The RAJARs’

Mar 2013  Radio News

You’d think being at the Gibson Guitar Studio I’d be able to spot a guitar somewhere; for whatever reason, after reaching the second floor and entering a large hall with a Gibson branded performance stage, I couldn’t spot one. Never mind, I wasn’t here for the riffs, I was here for The Radio Academy’s London event, All About The RAJARs. On entering I was handed a complimentary beer – already a big win – and took my seat.

For those who aren’t aware, RAJAR (Radio Joint Audio Research) is the official body in charge of the UK’s radio audience measurement and records listening habits across BBC and Commercial radio, with results presented each quarter. The data is documented in a diary format, both online and offline, by pre-approved entrants after a face-to-face interview – it’s also the UK’s largest media research tool with 105,000 people filling it out each year. Here’s the Q4 2012 analysis.

We were introduced to Matt Deegan, Creative Director from Folder Media; Lyndsay Ferrigan, Research Communications Manager at RAJAR; John Shorter, Director of Hallett Arendt and Adam Bowie, Head of Strategy & Planning at Absolute Radio. Deegan chaired the event whilst the other guests prepared to present.

Here are the Top 10 things I didn’t know about RAJAR:

1. The RAJAR Diary itself doesn’t look as overwhelming as I imagined

I’m not sure what I had in my head, but I always imagined the diary to be far more complicated than it actually is. Pre-set aligned stations based on your preferences, simple time-spent allocation and just a week required of filling it in. No fuss – and the online diary looks even simpler.

2. Your neighbours aren’t allowed to take part at the same time

I get the understanding behind it, but I believe this rule is a bit outdated. Apparently neighbours can influence your input to such an extent you can’t both fill it out – to me this seems like killing a wasp to destroy the hive. In today’s modern age, surely attempting to prevent influencers is nigh-on impossible.

3. Real-time listening is being tested via a smartphone app

Although briefly mentioned, RAJAR are testing a system which enables them to measure the impact of individual shows. Watermarked audio listening through a smartphone app is the initial test bed and is currently limited to London. You don’t need to be a station programmer to see how fantastic this would be – this data would be like gold dust!

4. On-demand listening isn’t currently being measured

Podcast-lovers revolt! The RAJAR currently measures live listening only – but expect this to change at some point as RAJAR are already recording podcast listening with their MIDAS (Measurement of Internet Delivered Audio Services) study.

5. Only 1 out of 10 people listen to radio solely via digital platforms

Actually it’s lower than that – just 9%. As a digital-only listener myself, this figure surprised me. Maybe I’m a naïve Londoner, so after asking a colleague about this, he said that the figure wasn’t so surprising. He pointed out that when you factor in the number of drivers on the road not using DAB radio, coupled with the significant amount of AM/FM sets dotted around (personal alarm clocks are a big one) along with slow but steady digital radio adoption, it all starts to add up.

6. You can be recorded as a listener of 3 stations in just 15 minutes

It takes just 5 minutes of radio listening time to be counted as a weekly listener – I wonder how many stations a channel hopping long haul driver on the M1 could get through in a day?!

7. Irregular or hard-to-believe results are rejected

My channel hopping friend on the M1 might actually find his results aren’t counted. There is a lot of logic in this decision and I would love to see some of the most obscure results they’ve received back.

8. Region by region, results can differ dramatically

Absolute’s Adam Bowie showed us a mad line graph with multiple zig-zagging lines crossing and uncrossing each other. It highlighted how diverse each region’s own quarterly listening hours are compared to the average national result – just looking at the national average doesn’t paint the real picture. Fun fact: there was a huge spike for one region in Q2, ’07 which added nearly 4 hours to their average against the previous quarter – spring listening in 2007 was rife it seems!

9. Internet listening – the one to watch

Within each presentation and during the Q&A, the internet was highlighted as the platform to keep an eye on. The speakers all seemed to agree that they expect it to continue its rise – it’s now just below 5% of all listening. How much will 4G’s expansion play a part in the increase during 2013 and beyond? However, despite the rise, online listening still has a long way to go, with DAB making up just over 21% of digital listening hours.

10. There’s a Polish Heavy Metal band called Behemoth

And they play on Radio 2, oh wait – I think I might’ve got that confused…

This entry was written by Jack Allen, Marketing Assistant at RadioWorks – @Jallen057

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